Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Mission We Keep Accomplishing

About a month ago, the Reverend Moon's Washington Times, with its usual dose of mendacity, jumped all over the Democrats for pointing out that the death of Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi would not prove to be the decisive turning point in Iraq that some wishful thinkers were making it out to be. The problems plaguing that nation are simply too complex, too deep-seated and, in most ways, exist wholly independent of the nature of the person occupying al-Qaeda in Iraq's leadership.

But those obvious realities didn't prevent Kathryn Jean Lopez from falling prey to some oddly self-refuting over-exuberance:

I just had a brief chat with our David Pryce-Jones, whose spirits couldn't be higher this afternoon (in England). He calls Zarqawi’s demise both a “collassal [sic] morale boost” for all of us but says it also has “big operational significance.” “When you get rid of a leader, it’s very hard to replace him.” The Israelis have proved this time and time again.

Today, we get a grim reminder of the state of affairs in post-Zarqawi Iraq from this article:

The central morgue said Tuesday that it received 1,595 bodies last month, 16 percent more than in May, in a tally that showed the pace of killing here has increased since the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq.

Baghdad, home to one-fourth of Iraq's population, has slowly descended into a low-grade civil war in some neighborhoods, with Sunni and Shiite militias carrying out systematic sectarian killings that clear whole city blocks.

Zal Khalilzad, who has shown a surprising penchant for straight talk (especially considering his present employers), weighs in on the impact of Zarqawi's killing:

The American ambassador here, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, told the BBC on Tuesday that killing Mr. Zarqawi had not made Iraq safer.

"In terms of the level of violence, it has not had any impact at this point," Mr. Khalilzad said. "As you know, the level of violence is still quite high."

I can't wait to see the scathing Washington Times headline directed at Mr. Khalilzad for his defeatist spin on such a monumental success. The article goes on to note that since January, the monthly death tolls recorded by the Baghdad morgue have been between 1,000 and 1,500 - with an upward trend culminating in June's tragic number.

For perspective sake, consider that Iraq is roughly one-tenth the size of the United States population wise. In American terms, this would be like witnessing between 11,000 to 16,000 deaths a month as a result of various internal conflicts. And those are just the numbers from the Baghdad area.

Amidst such chaos and bloodshed, no doubt the foreign press would be reporting on the new school being built out of the rubble in Poughkeepsie.

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